Any UK police looking for an opportunity, this might appeal.
More British bobbies bound for SA as local recruits dry up
Nigel Hunt From:Sunday Mail (SA) March 13, 2011 12:00AM
SOUTH Australia is set to recruit another 90 police officers from the UK because of a severe shortfall in local applicants.
Assistant Police Commissioner Graeme Barton said the current recruiting climate was a "challenge" and there was no alternative but to seek extra British police to maintain current targets. This is despite many of the overseas recruits leaving after their original three-year contract expires. "Our primary objective is to recruit locally," Mr Barton said.
Applications to join SAPOL have fallen in recent years as the job market strengthened with the economy in recovery. Police have received just 777 applications from potential recruits since July 1 last year, compared to 1636 applications in 2008-09 financial year, and 1586 in 2009-10.
"Many applicants are eliminated through early testing and other factors such as integrity checks," Mr Barton said. "And unfortunately not all of them are successful on the first occasion."
In many instances applicants initially rejected are advised to enrol in suitable TAFE courses to improve their future chances, while others lack maturity or life skills and are advised to apply again later. "We are looking for people who have the skills, ability and aptitude to do the job," Mr Barton said. "Younger people are lacking in life skills and experience. However, if we can identify they have the leadership, problem-solving and communication skills we require in a police officer we would recruit them at a younger age and put in processes to ensure they are developed through their cadet and probationary periods."
Mr Barton said the decision to take more UK recruits followed an unsuccessful bid to recruit from New Zealand. A campaign there led to just 40 registrations of interest and only a handful of applications, which were still being assessed. SAPOL has recruited 517 British police officers so far but of those 139 have left with 378 still serving in various areas. The attrition rate for British recruits is now about 21 per cent - double the rate of 10.3 per cent for local recruits.
"We expected the rate to be higher because people came for the lifestyle, they came to become Australian citizens and policing gave them that opportunity," Mr Barton said. "Once they fulfil their contractual obligation to stay with us for two years, some decide to move on. We expected that.
"The great thing about them is they are fully trained and have been on the road for many years and they bring that experience with them."
Mr Barton said SAPOL had about 1000 listed inquiries from prospective British recruits because of the economic conditions they were experiencing in the UK. He said a team of SA police would likely head to London in July to process applicants and the first course for new intakes would start next February and March.
Mr Barton said while the current recruiting rate was below target, several other strategies had been examined, with one being to ask recently retired officers if they wished to return to SAPOL. "We have had two or three say `yes' they want to come back," he said.
Mr Barton also expected significant pay rises just awarded to police in a new enterprise bargaining agreement would provide an incentive for local recruits to apply.
Constable Ben Mann, 28, is one of the 517 UK police officers who have joined local ranks since 2005 and he says he "loves it". He arrived in Adelaide in September 2009 after five years as an officer with West Midlands police in Birmingham where he worked on general patrols.
He was initially stationed at Elizabeth after arriving in Adelaide but last month was transferred to city patrols. He says he was attracted to Adelaide for "the whole lifestyle".
"When this opportunity came up after I saw it on the website, I snapped at it to come out for the sunny, laid-back lifestyle."
And while 139 of his fellow UK recruits have left the force, Const Mann says he loves his job. "It took me 12 months to settle down but you always get the odd one who gets homesick or don't fit in," he said. "But the majority love it here because of the lifestyle that comes with it. I don't think anyone came out here just for the job."
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